71% Of Americans Believe The Founding Fathers Would Be Disappointed At The Way The Nation Has Turned Out
from the prodigal-nation dept
The last dozen years haven't been too kind to our country. A brief surge of patriotism followed the 9/11 attacks, but the Bush administration managed to channel that national pride (and a large dose of fear) into a series of regrettable laws, policies, government expansion and wars. The rough sketches of a homegrown surveillance state have been present for several decades but it took the chaos of a terrorist attack to bring it into sudden, sharp focus.
The current administration didn't improve matters, embracing and expanding the model of government surveillance and control put into operation by its predecessors. Throughout it all, whistleblowers have emerged, filling in the details of the shadowy operations operating behind the scenes, safely out of the public eye and for the most part, beyond accountability.
The latest round of leaks have solidified the state's image as an untrustworthy guardian of the nation's "security," a premise so flimsy its aims and activities are still mostly shrouded in government-enforced secrecy, aided and abetted by the executive orders of a compliant president.
It's little surprise that a majority of Americans believe the founding fathers would be disappointed by US 2.0 -- a country whose representatives have shown the willingness to sacrifice their constituents' freedoms for "safety," all without having the courtesy to discuss these "sacrifices" until absolutely forced to.
Seventy-one percent of Americans think the signers of the Declaration of Independence would be disappointed by the way the United States has turned out, a Gallup survey released Thursday shows.The country hasn't been deemed "pleasing" to the founding fathers by a majority of Americans since 2001, when it briefly hit a high of 54%. Since then, it has slid to half that -- 27% -- over the last decade.
Interestingly, a person's opinion on what the founding fathers might think of the country has little bearing on their own particular pride in being an American.
As the United States celebrates Independence Day, most of its adult residents continue to say they are proud to be an American, including 57% who are extremely proud and 28% who are very proud. This high level of pride in being an American has varied only moderately over the past 12 years since the question was first asked, but has been lower since 2005 than it was in the years prior.
That seeming dichotomy is something our legislators should take a long, hard look at. A person's pride in their nationality is almost completely divorced from their respect for the government. This shouldn't be viewed as a license to continue screwing things up. After all, the American public's confidence rating for Congress is in danger of slipping into single digits.
No, the takeaway should be this: patriotism isn't tied to government activity. It never has been and it never will be. Crafting bad laws to make America "better" or "safer," as happened post-9/11, is nothing more than a hideous form of coattail riding. It's a way to exploit emotional surges in order to expand government power.
Being proud to be an American despite the actions of those in power is a great thing. Our government long ago ceased to be truly representative of the population, instead searching for expansions of power and engaging in willing servitude to a variety of corporations and special interests. The divide continues to grow. Our nation is two entities: the people and the state.
Our founding fathers would be displeased, but maybe they too would hold out hope that our country will correct the course set by the last two administrations. More disappointed than angry. And still optimistic.